Three things we learned from Arsenal's 3-2 victory over Manchester City
Arsenal ran out 3-2 winners against Manchester City yesterday, in an entertaining clash in Sweden. Both teams had experimental elements to their starting line ups, and both were far more coherent offensively than defensively. Though it is far too early to draw sweeping conclusions, the game did contain a few pointers for what might lie ahead.
Over the next couple of pages, we have picked out three things we can take from the game, with the new season a matter of days away. Let us know if you agree in the comments section below.
Arsenal Need To Sign A Defender
A confidence-building Arsenal win, sprinkled with some nice attacking play was marred by Gabriel’s ankle injury. Arsene Wenger has already professed to be looking for an established defender, with Per Mertesacker set to miss the rest of the calendar year.
Gabriel’s injury only intensifies Arsenal’s need, who could be forced to play Krystian Bielik, Rob Holding or left-back Nacho Monreal in the heart of their defence against Liverpool on Sunday. Laurent Koscielny returns to full training today, but it could be too much of a risk to throw him straight in.
It is far from the ideal preparation for the new season, and though Wenger’s critics will point to Arsenal’s centre-back situation as an example of ‘bad planning’, it is hard not to feel some sympathy on this occasion.
Losing two centre-halves to what look like severe injuries is impossible to legislate for, and Arsenal have six centre backs on their books. How many more are they supposed to have? Koscielny, Mertesacker and Gabriel are their three senior options with Calum Chambers, Bielik and Holding back-ups.
This is the why you have back-up options; to play if the first choices are unavailable. Arsenal are probably one experienced defender light, but they are hardly down to the bare bones either. These are the types of situation the best young players take advantage of – Hector Bellerin only got a chance due to a Mathieu Debuchy injury, while Ashley Cole was only retained due to a problem with Sylvinho’s passport.